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Opinion poll setback for Canada's PM

A NATIONAL poll published by the Globe and Mail in Toronto confirms the dramatic slide in popularity of the Canadian Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, and her Conservative Party and indicates the Liberals led by Jean Chretien will form the next government.

The Liberals now appear to have the support of 40 per cent of decided voters in the country as a whole, compared with 22 per cent for the Conservatives, 16 per cent for the Reform Party, 13 per cent for the Bloc Quebecois, and 7 per cent for the New Democrats. But since the Bloc Quebecois is active only in Quebec, the 13 per cent nationally translates into 52 per cent in Quebec. Similarly, the Reform Party is active only outside of Quebec and its 16 per cent nationally translates into 21 per cent in English-speaking Canada.

In another twist, a poll shows Mr Chretien trailing badly in his home riding of St Maurice in Quebec. He may win the country but have to fight a by-election outside of Quebec to get into parliament.